The annual Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., are one of the largest displays in the U.S.A. The best way to avoid the crowds and get a great view of the Independence Day celebration is from across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA.
Here are 5 great places to watch July 4th fireworks from Arlington, VA:
1. U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
My favorite location is from the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial – known to locals as the Iwo Jima statue. It’s my favorite because you’ll watch the spectacle from a hill above the Potomac River with an iconic view of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the U.S. Capital in the background. The memorial is a short walk from the Rosslyn Metro station. Get there early and don’t forget your camera!
2. Along the banks of the Potomac River
The National Mall sits directly across the Potomac River from Arlington, and there are 3 miles of riverbank from which to watch the fireworks. Some places are harder to access than others, due to parking restrictions along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, but if you make the effort you can have all the space you’ll need to spread out with a picnic and an unobstructed view of the fireworks in D.C.
Other, more defined, locations along the Potomac include:
- Gravelly Point – Just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Gravelly Point is a large, grassy park next to National Airport and offers a parking lot, picnic tables and portable restrooms. Gravelly Point is also considered one of the best places in the country to watch planes landing and taking off – they’ll be just 100 to 150 feet overhead. Access Gravelly Point from the northbound George Washington Parkway, the Mount Vernon bike trail or even a short walk from the Blue Line Metro station at National Airport (please note that the stations south of the airport on the Blue and Yellow lines toward Alexandria will be closed).
- Lady Bird Johnson Park and Columbia Island Marina – Though technically located in D.C., Lady Bird Johnson Park is on the Arlington riverbank side. You can access the park from the bike trail or the southbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Limited parking is available at the Columbia Island Marina, where you’ll also find restrooms, water fountains and a small restaurant.
3. U.S. Air Force Memorial
The U.S. Air Force Memorial sits up on a hill overlooking the Pentagon and the D.C. monuments and is ideal for fireworks viewing.
Prior to the fireworks at 8 p.m., there will be a free concert featuring the Concert Band and Singing Sergeants. The memorial is located at 1 Air Force Memorial Drive, Arlington, off of Columbia Pike.
4. Key Bridge
The Francis Scott Key Bridge between Rosslyn and Georgetown offers 1,700 feet of sidewalk over the Potomac to view the fireworks from the National Mall. The sidewalk usually gets crowded, and there is no place to sit, so get there early to grab a spot or time it so you can walk into Georgetown to enjoy some post fireworks cocktails. The Key Bridge is a 10-minute walk from the Rossyln Metro station and the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.
5. Long Bridge Park
Long Bridge Park is a large park (30 acres) with parking, rest rooms, picnic areas a network of walkways, play areas, a waterfowl sanctuary and a fantastic view of the D.C. fireworks. The park is adjacent to I-395 at 475 Long Bridge Dr., Arlington, VA, and a short walk from the Crystal City Metro station.